Durban – uMngeni Local Municipality mayor Chris Pappas has assured businesses operating under the municipality that uMngeni intends to be a partner and to create an enabling environment for their business to thrive.
He was addressing the business community on the important role that municipalities can play in improving conditions on the ground and enabling business to thrive recently.
“We need to have a common vision, something that we all believe in, that is what we need here in the Midlands and that is hope that a forum like this can galvanise.
“We (the municipality) need to be an enabler, we cannot always be an obstruction to progress, we cannot always be the one throwing the rule book, saying have you got this licence or have you signed this piece of paper and that is our sole purpose for existence,” said Pappas.
He said the municipality has to be an enabler of business growth because the more people are employed, it will mean an improvement in the municipality’s rates base and general quality of life
“As a municipality we have to be a mobiliser to things that add value,” adding that very often the government does not mobilise resources towards things like proper care of infrastructure which has long term value to the economy.
“There are some exciting things that we are trying to do to get there. Potholes, you cannot have an economy that works when you have infrastructure that does not work,” he said.
Pappas said as part of improving the environment to enable business to operate optimally, the municipality has doubled its roads budget, to attend to issues like potholes, from R11 million to R22 million. He said his municipality needs close to R600 million to fix its road infrastructure.
“We have spent R23 million on buying specialised plant and equipment, roller graders and the like to make our roads usable, R1.4 million to youth development to be able to grow young people into the economy,” he said.